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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  February 7, 2013 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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of socializing with logan and another one for people in private sector accommodation. week after week the labour mps and the labour leader comes here of posing this benefit change, that benefit change, and everything we do to deal with the mess that they left. and then tell they can learn that they have to take some of the responsible for the mess they left, no one will ever listen to them. coming up tonight, outgoing defense secretary leon panetta and general martin dempsey, testify about the benghazi, libya attack. and then a discussion on the federal response to soldiers with post dramatic stress disorder. and later, president obama and congressional leaders speak at the fellowship foundation's prayer breakfast.
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testified about the attack thon u.s. consulate in benghazi, libarch that killed ambassador stevens and three other americans. the pentagon never received the request from the state academy for security, and did not have the resources to get support on the ground in time to thwart the attackers. leon panetta is stepping down. this hearing is four hours and 15 minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> good morning, everybody. today the committee welcomes secretary of defense, leon panetta, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey. to testify about the department of defense's response the deadly terrorist attack on the u.s. temporary mission facility in benghazi, libya, last year. and the findings of its internal review following that attack, including lessons learned from benghazi. we will be receiving testimony next tuesday morning on the impact of sequestration and/or a
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full-year continuing resolution on the department of defense witnesses. there will be department secretary of defense, the comp driller and the joint chiefs of staff. i hope today's hearing with inform the committee of any changes being made or proposed to the posture of u.s. forces overseas to respond to similar terrorist attacks in the future as we saw in benghazi, and that the department of defense's assessment of the recommendations that are in included in the secretary of state's accountability review board that affect d.o.d.s installations or operations overseas in november of -- in november the department of defense released a timeline of its response to the assault of september 11th and 12th in benghazi, including the decisions made on the deployment of various forces based in the united states of overseas.
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a copy of this timeline is in front of us. i think we each have of and it it will be included in the record. according to at the timeline, within 20 minutes of the assault on the temporary mission facility they department of defense's first action was to redirect anen manned surveillance platform from a mission over libya, to provide better awareness of the events on the ground in benghazi. following consult indications at the white house, sect panetta conducted a series of meetings to discuss options for expanding the department of defense's response as well as to prepare for the potential outbreak of further violence throughout the region. during these meetings, secretary panetta authorized a number of demomentums. i hope that secretary panetta and the chairman will provide the committee with detail on the circumstances that led them to these decisions.
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since september, there's been a great deal of focus on the supporting role that the marine corps guards play in many u.s. diplomatic missions abroad. the marine corps did not have an element in benghazi as it was not an embassy but a treasure mission facility. the committee will be closely monitoring the use of these marines. our fiscal year 2013 national defense authorization act that requires the secretary of defense to conduct an assessment of the mission of the marine security guard program, whether it should be expanded, and to report to congress on the results of this review. more immediately, the provision requires the secretary to develop a plan to increase the number of marines in the marine security guard program, by up to a thousand marines, to improve security at our embassies, consulates and other diplomatic
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facilities. based on secretary clinton's recent testimony before congress, it is clear that the state department and the department of defense are already consulting on this review. the secretary of state's accountability review board focused on the need to ensure the state department puts greater focus on high-risk, high-threat posts as well as posts where the host nation, despite having the will to protect diplomatic facilities, does not have the capacity to protect them. in some cases, these posts are located in countries where the department of defense and the state department have assistance programs with similar objectives. these are perhaps areas where the two departments can explore whether additional collaboration is appropriate. during secretary of state clinton's recent testimony before congress, the emphasized
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the importance of properly resourcing u.s. africa command, afrikom reached full operational capability less than five years ago, and has been in what's called an economy of force effort to date. the events of last september race questions about the adequacy of resourcing with respect to africom in terms of funding, assigned personnel, intelligence, and recon sans report. as an example, until the beginning of the current fiscal year, aafry com decide not have an emergency standby force. bought, rather, it shared its force with u.s. european command in recent years the committee south to provide the department
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of defense with authority to support the burgeoning requirements of the charges such as the african cooperation authority, targeted train and equip authorities to support deployments of the african union mission in somalia, and flexible military construction authority. the committee looks forward to learning whether any additional actions might be taken to fur the support africoms programs and operations. unfortunately to date, much of the discourse of the events surrounding the deadly attack against our people in benghazi, the focus on preparation and dissemination of unclassified talking points that were prepared at the request of congress by our nation's intelligence professionals and approved by their most senior leadership. these talking points are relevant but even more relevant than finding out, as secretary
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clinton said, why these militants decided, is to find those militants and bring them to justice, and to do everything that we can to prevent it from ever happening again. -- attempted to expand their territory in the nation ol' mali as well as take hostages, dozens of innocent civilians, and attempt to destroy a natural gas facility in algeria. today, the united states is providing its unique enabling capabilities to the french military separations and the deployment of african forces from nations around the region. the secretary panetta has stated repeatedly that it's critical that the united states continue to pursue those groups and individuals, seeking to attack
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the united states and our interests. i expect the secretary and the chairman this morning will provide their assessment of the threat that is posed by these groups to regional and international security, as well as our effort to counter their operations. the four americans that our nation lost last september where month the very best expression of what it means to be american. hard-working, energetic, optimistic, dedicated, not just to furthering the interests of their own nation but to ensuring that others could enjoy the same freedom and opportunity that we hold so dear. we honor the sacrifice of those americans, and in their name we will do everything that we can to prevent a repetition of benghazi.
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since this is likely secretary panetta's last hearing before this committee, and a broad smile has now appeared upon his face -- i want to take a moment to offer my personal thanks to secretary leon panetta, for your service to our country, for your leadership at the defense department, secretary panetta how yeaf withinned qualities of honesty, candor, humility. fair mindsedness and a great sense of humor. automatic of those essential during the tenure you have had as secretary. so we thank you for your service to our nation and for your great cooperation as well with this committee. [applause]
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>> senator inhofe. >> i agree with the last part of your statement there. i hold both of our witnesses in the highest regard, and in the case of secretary panetta, just whispered to my friend senator mccain two of my favorite in the house, ma net a and panetta, and that's been the case and i rejoiced at the time you received the position and appointments you have had. it's a long overdue that this committee is holding a hearing to examine the facts surrounding the terrorist attacks in benghazi on september 11, 2012, that left four americans dead, ambassador christy veins, sean smith, tyler woods and glen dougherty. deaths i believe could have been prevented. what has become clear is that the united states is woefully unprepared for what occurred in benghazi. what is also clear is that following the attack, the administration provided the american people inaccurate
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information about the true nature of the catastrophe and those events in benghazi in my discussions with the most senior administrative officials, i've been told that on the night of the tragedy, although there was confusion about the nature of the first attack on the compound, where the ambassador was located, the second wave of attacks, on the annex, were unequivocally a terrorist attack. i have no doubt about that, that they were. this was apparent because of an angry mob doesn't use coordinated mortars and rpgs. so i have no question about that in my mind, despite the clear evidence, it took this administration over a week to publicly admit, as many of us knew already, that it was a terrorist attack, not simply a protest that turned violent as ambassador susan rice adamantly and incorrectly insisted.
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while some may downplay the difference, i can't. al qaeda affiliated terrorists were involved in the murder of four americans, including our united states ambassador to libya. this fact should call into question the effectiveness of our counterterrorism strategy to date in north africa and beyond. i hope our hearing today will provide the committee with a thorough accounting of the facts leading up to the attack as well as what has been done in months following to ensure that's tragedy doesn't happen again in the months leading up to september 11th there were no fewer than four significant attacks against the western interests in the city. i'd like to have you put the chart up there, and leave it up during the course of this hearing, because each member of here has a copy of this, and there's certain things that happened we all know. we know that on may 22nd the red cross was hit with an rpg. they left town.
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we know that on june 11th, the british ambassador's motorcade was attacked by an rpg. they left town. we know on april 10th, the united nations convoy was hit by an ied, and on june 6th the u.s. consulate was attacked with a bomb. and many, many other things and we didn't leave. while i understand the state department has primary responsibility for the protection of american diplomats rolled the world, also understand that the defense department plays an important supporting role to this effect. i suspect or witnesses to explain today why, given the clear indicators and warnings, thats to the united states interests in ben georgia si, and throughout the north africa, were growing, was the defense department not placed on a heightened alert status or adequately postured to respond in a timely manner to a contingency of this nature,
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especially on the anniversary on nine 11. it has been stated there were no military assets in the area to answer, and i have to ask, why not? the january 2012 defense strategic guidance directs that we will rebalance toward the asian pacific. goes ton say that in africa and latin america, we will develop innovative low cost and small footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives. that's no way to achieve our security objectives. benghazi highlights the risks, such as in africa. this committee must get a thorough accounting of exactly what was known and when, and what the defense department did to respond to the escalating situation in benghazi and why it
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was not better prepared. additionally, our witnesses should address whether or not the current relationship between the state and the defense department is sufficient to meet the security demands of our overseas prepares. i've made over 100 african visits. i know africa, and what happened in benghazi vividly illustrates what i've been talking about for a long per of time, that is, the throwing threat to the united states interests on the african continent from terrorist groups such as al qaeda -- generalham, the commander of africom, said back in 2011 that terrorist organizations in east africa in the deserts of northern frick and nye jeer a, quote, have little explicitie and publicity intent to target
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westerner and the u.s. pacifically. secretary panetta you said, the longer you delay, the longer you avoid trying to assign way stance there the more dangerous these groups become and the greater the instability that develops here there are elements there in central africa that either have ties to al qaeda or that present the forces of terrorism in their own and that's what is dangerous. as bad as everything that i've stated is, what i think is worse is the coverup. it was obvious from the information we had on september 11th that the second wave -- not the first wave, the second wave -- we have two different waves, the compound, which we'll talk about in more detail during the questions -- and then we have the annex. the second wave of attacks on the annex war unequivocally a terrorist attack, and we knew it right at the time. despite this information, ambassador rice said something that was totally false to the
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american people, on all five major sunday news shows, replying the attacks were response to an antiislam video that spurred protests across the region. in this sense, you are probably wrong -- the wrong witness here because you'd be unfamiliar wife instructed thor say that and gave her that faulty information. that's something we hope we'll be able to get and that's something we can't be ignored. we sit around all day long and talk about the resources we should have and don't have, not just here and not just in this part of the world but all over the world, and that's fine. i think we all understand that. that's not the big problem here. the big problem here is the coverup and nobody talks about it and that's the tragedy. thank you, mr. chairman. >> secretary panetta.
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>> champ levin, senator inhofe, members of the excitetime. appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the terrorist attacks on our facilities in benghazi on september 11, 2012. before i go into my testimony let me just state my deepest thanks to all of you for the support and friendship that i've had with all of you on both sides of the aisle. i've had the honor to in many ways live the american dream as the son of italian immigrants and in the various capacities i have had to serve this country. the greatest privilege i think i've had is to serve as an elected member of the house and had the opportunity to work with many of you in that capacity, and then as member of the executive branch, had the opportunity to work with you as well. i thank you for your dedication to the country, and i thank you for your willingness to serve the united states.
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on that tragic day, as always, the department of defense was prepared for a wide range of contingencies. just to remind you, the nctc, in the six months prior to that attack, identified some 281 threats to u.s. diplomats, diplomatic facilities, embassy, ambassadors, and consulates, worldwide. and obviously benghazi was one of those almost 300 areas of concern. but unfortunately, there was no specific intelligence or indication of an imminent attack on that u.s. facility in benghazi. and frankly, without an adequate warning, there was not enough time, given the speed of the attack, for armed military assets to respond.
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that's not just my view. or general dempsey's view. it was the view of the accountability review board that studied what happened on that day. in the months since the tragedy, at the temporary mission facility, and the nearby annex in benghazi, we've learned that there were actually two short duration attacks that occurred some six hours apart, and again, there was no specific intelligence that indicated that a second attack would occur at the annex, which was located some two miles away. the bottom line is this. we were not dealing with a prolonged or continuous assault, which could have been brought to an end by a u.s. military response. very simply, although we had fourses to deployed to the
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region, time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground, prevented a more immediate response. despite the uncertainty at the time, the department of defense and the rest of the united states government spared no effort to do everything we could to try to save american lives. before, during, and after the attack, every request that the department of defense received, we did. we accomplished. but again, four americans' lives were lost. and we all have a responsibility to make sure that it does not happen again. the four americans who perished in benghazi, ambassador stevens, information management officer sean smith, and the security personnel, all were heroes and all were patriots. i had the opportunity to join
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the president, secretary clinton and other officials at andrews air force base for the dignified transfer ceremony when those bodies of those heroes were returned home and i had the opportunity to meet with their families. i believe we all have a solemn responsibility to these families, and to all the diplomatic personnel who put themselves at risk, to find out exactly what happened, to bring those involved to justice, and to make sure that we're doing everything possible to prevent it from happening again and to ensure the safety of our personnel and facilities worldwide. to that end the department of defense is fully supported efforts by congress and the state department to review events and decisions surrounding the attacks in benghazi. we have made every effort to respond promptly to nuke numerous requests for additional information to provide brief
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examination testimony to members and committees in the congress. in fact, general dempsey and i were among the very first u.s. government senior officials to brief congress on this tragedy. we appeared before this committee on september 14th, 2012, three days after the attack, and provided the best information we had at that point as to what had taken place. additionally, the defendant department participated in classified brief examination answered questions from the intelligence foreign affairs homeland security oversight committees, even when we were not called to testify. we've also provided all requested support to the accountability review board that was co-chaired by ambassador pickerring and by admiral mullen. based on the information we come compiled the reviews we have conducted, let me describe you d.o. d.s response to the events on september 11th.
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some of the lessons we learned and the adjustments we are making to our global force posture, given continue continuing unrest throughout north victory and the middle east. in fact, in many places, if we get the heads up we need, the changes we have made have already resulted the early decisions to deploy additional security or withdraw diplomatic staff in advance of a crisis, from central america to khartoum, from tunisia to yemen, from egypt and mali to and eyes. while dod does not have the primary responsibility for the security of u.s. diplomatic facilities around the world, we do work closely with the state department and support them as requested. in the months prior to the benghazi attack, as i said, we
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had received from the intelligence community, almost 300 reports on upon threats to american facilities around the world. over the course of the day on september 11th, general dempsey and i received a number of reports of possible threats to u.s. facilities. including those in cairo, egypt. but there are no reports of imminent threats to u.s. personnel or facilities in benghazi. by our best estimate, the incident at the temporary mission facility in benghazi began at about 3:42 p.m., eastern daylight time, on september 11th. the embassy in tripoli was notified of the attacks almost immediately, and within 1 -- 17 minutes of the initial report, africom directed an unmanned
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surveillance aircraft that was nearby to reposition overhead the ben georgia si facility. my understand is that the uav arrived an exphowr 11 minutes after the attack had begun, and was focused on the primary facility there to try to determine what was taking place. soon after the initial report on the attack on benghazi were received, general dempsey and i met with president obama, and he ordered all available d ooh d assets to respond to the attack in libya and protect u.s. personnel and interests in the region. it's important to remember that in addition to responding to the situation in benghazi, we were also concerned about potential threats to u.s. personnel in teunis, tripoli, cairo, and elsewhere that could potentially require a military response inch
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consultation with general dempsey, and africom commander general hamm, i directed several specific actions. first, we ordered a marine fleet anti-terrorric secure team, a f.a.s.t., team, stationed in spain, to prepare to deploy to benghazi. a second f.a.s.t. platoon was ordered to prepare to deploy to the embassy triply. a special operations force, which was training in central europe, was ordered to prepare to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern europe. and a special operations force, based in the united states, was ordered to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern europe as well at
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ciganela. others ask why other armed aircraft were not dispatched to benghazi. the reason simply is because armed uavs, or fixed wing fighters, with the associated tanking, you have to provide air refueling, abilities, argumentments. you have to arm all the weapons before you put them on the planes. targeting and support facilities, were not in the vicinity of libya. and because of the distance it would have taken nine to 12 hours, if not more to deploy these forces to ben georgia simple it was pure and simple in the absence of any kind of advance warning, problem of distance and time. frankly, even if we were able to get the f16s or the ac13 sos over the target in time, the mission still depends on accurate information about what
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targets they're supposed to hit. and we had no forward air controllers there. we had no communications with u.s. personnel on the ground, and as a matter of fact we had no idea where the ambassador was at that point to be able to kind of conduct any kind of attacks on the ground. the quickest response option available was a tripoli-based security team located at the embassy in tripoli. and to their credit, within hours, the six-man team, including two u.s. military personnel, chartered a private airplane, deployed to benghazi. within 15 minutes of arriving at the annex facility, they came under attack by mortar and rocket propelled grenades. members of this team, along with others at the annex facility, provided emergency medical assistance and supported the evacuation of all personnel.
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only 12 hours after the attacks had gun, all remaining u.s. government personnel had been safely evacuated from benghazi. looking back, our actions in the immediate aftermath of these attacks had been subject, obviously to intense scrutiny and review, but let me share with you the conclusion of the accountable review board. the interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed u.s. military assets to have made a difference. senior level enter agency discussions were underway soon after washington received initial word of the attacks, and continued throughout the night. the board found no evidence of any undo delays and decisionmaking or denial of support from washington or from
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the military combatant commanders. quite the contrary, the safe evacuation of all u.s. government personnel from benghazi 12 hour arizona the initial attack, and subsequently to air foes base was because of exceptional u.s. military coordination and response, and helped save the lives of two severely wounded americans. still, after all of that, it is clear that there are lessons to be learned here. and steps that must be taken to ensure that we're doing everything possible to protect our personnel and our facilities abroad. so in concert with the state department and the intelligence community, we are in the process of developing enhanced security for u.s. persons and facilities in the wake of benghazi. there will always be a tension between mission effectiveness
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for personnel, ability to get out and do what they're supposed to do no these countries, and their physical security. we're committed to steps that avoid a bunker mentality. and yet we still must afford greater protection from armed attack. we're taking steps along three tracks. first, host nation capacity. we have been able to better assess and build up the capabilities of host governments to provide security for u.s. personnel and facilities. the fact is, our embassy and and consulates depend on host country person knoll provide the first line of security in this episode raises concerns about the ability of some newly established or fragile governments to properly secure u.s. diplomatic facilities.
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to address these concerns we are work with the department department in how dod can enhance security provided to diplomatic facilities. where permissible and appropriate in collaboration with the secretary of state and the u.s. chief of mission in the affected country, we believe the defense department can assist in their development using a range of security assistance authorities to train and equip those forces in the host country, and we are doing exactly that. secondly, we have to enhance diplomatic security. we have to harden these facilities, and we're working with the state department to try to reassess diplomatic security overall, to determine what changes may be required, we assisted the state department in the deployment of an enter agency security assessment team to evaluate the security level
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at 19 vulnerable diplomatic facilities, including our embassy in libya, and we're in the process of developing recommendations on potential security increases as required. as part of this review we have also considered how the role, mission and resourcing of the marine security guards, could be adapted to respond to this new threat environment. in the near term we have agreed with the department of state to add 35 new marine security guard detachments -- almost a thousand ma reaches -- over the next two or three years in addition the 152 detachments in place today. we're working with state to identify those specific locations for the new detachments and we'll identify any necessary resource and structure adjustments in order to support this initiative. although there was not a marine security guard detachment posted
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to the benghazi temporary mission facility, based on our review of all embassy security incidents that occurred in september of 2012, in teunis in cairo in khartoum, we have initiated cord nation with the department of state to expand the marines' role beyond their primary mission of protecting classified information. their primary mission is not providing outside security. their premiere mission is to protect classified inflammation. but we believe that we can try to augment their role into -- in terms of providing greater security and protection as well. this could include the expanded use of nontheliale weapons. additional training and equipment to support the embassy regional security officer's response options when host nation security force
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capabilities are at risk of being overwhelmed. the third areas enhance edental jeeps and military response capacity. we are focused on enhancing intelligence collection and ensuring our forces throughout the region are prepared to respond to crisis if necessary. the united states military, as i've said, is not and, frankly, should not be a 9-1-1 service, capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every possible contingency around the world. u.s. military has neither the resources nor the responsibility to have a firehouse next to every u.s. facility in the world. we have some key bases, particularly in this region. we have some key platforms from which we can deploy, and we have forces on alert and wire
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prepared to move. but our ability to identify threats, to adjust posture, to prevent plots, and respond to attacks to our personnel at home and overseas, depends on actionable intelligence and it always will. therefore, we're working with the state department and the intelligence community to ensure that our collection and analysis is linked with military possess temperature and planning. we're working to enhance our intelligence collection to improve the responsiveness of assets and adjust the location of reaction forces. we're working closely with state to ensure they have our best estimate of response times for each at-risk diplomatic facility, so they can make the best informed decisions about adjustments to their staff presence in areas of increased security threat.
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we have deployed key response forces abroad. we have reduced their response time, but let me again say to you that even those forces that are on a tight alert time of n plus two, notice plus two hours to be able to get on a plane. once those forces are put on airlift, it still requires many hours in that part of the world to fly distances, long distances, in order to be able to respond. i firmly believe that the department of defense and the u.s. farmed armed forces did all we could to in response the attacks in benghazi. we deployed every asset at our disposal that could have been used to save the lives of our american colleagues. we will support efforts to bring those responsible to justice and we are working with the task force involved and headed up by
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the fbi, to do just that. as i said going forward, we intend to adapt the security environment, to ensure that we're better positioned and prepared to support the department of state, in securing our facilities around the world. but in order to be able to effectively protect the american and our interests abroad, at time type instability, we must have an agile and ready force, able to quickly respond, and above all, and forgive me for being repetitious -- we have got to end the cloud of budget uncertainty that hangs over the department of defense and the entire u.s. government. i've got to use this opportunity to express again my greatest concern as secretary, and frankly, one of the greatest security risks we're now facing as a anyway that this budget
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uncertainty could prompt the most significant readiness military readiness crisis in more than a decade. the department of defense faces the prospect of sequestration on march 1st. if congress fails to, sequestration is triggered. and if we also must operate under a year-long continuing resolution, we would be faced with having to take about 46-plus billion dollars out of the defense budget and we face $35 billion shortfall in operate funds alone for our active forces, with only a few months remaining in the fiscal year. affecting the war fighters, protecting the critical tee employments we have, we have to turn to the one area we 1/2 order to gain the funds necessary and that's readiness. it's maintenance. it will badly damage our
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national defense and compromise our ability to respond to crisis in a dangerous world. the responsibility of dealing with this crisis obviously rests with leadership of the nation. i know the members of this committee share the deep concerns that i have raised about sequestration. and obviously i urge you to do whatever you can to try to avoid this threat to our national defense. state department and the intelligence community obviously also must be provided the resources they need in order to execute the missions we expect of them. including the enhancements i described today. whatever steps are required to be taken to properly posture u.s. forces for possible emergency response operations, those steps would be seriously impacted by the readiness crisis caused by uncertain resources. we have a responsibility -- and i take that responsibility seriously -- to do everything we can to protect our citizens.
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that responsibility, however, rest with both the executive afternoon the congress. if we work together, we can keep our americans safe. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, secretary panetta. general dempsey. >> thank you chairman and senator inhofe. i will -- i would like to endorse what the secretary just said in particular the part before the the effect of sequestration. i would also say that this hearing continues our full support to every effort and every request to understand and learn from this tragic event. i want to also commend the men and women of our nation's diplomatic corps. they are selfless and courageous. they do hard things in hard places. i've stood with them in iraq and afghanistan, where their words are america's reputation where
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they're outstretched hand is america's promise in benghazi we lost four fellow servant office the nation, christy ven, john smith, tyrone woods and gasoline dougherty to their family and friend is offer my personal condolences. we mourn their deaths as we honor their service. we honor them most by taking what we learned from their loss to prepare for an uncertain future. thank you. >> thank you very much, general dempsey. let's have a seven-minute round for the first round. and if we need a second round we can do that. we got a little bit of a hate start here this morning. secretary, you end up with your plea on sequestration, and the need to avoid it, and i totally agree with you. there is i think near universal agreement, perhaps universal on this panel -- about the devastating impact that sequestration is likely have to on the department of defense and on other federal agencies as
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well. i believe, as you do, that it is incumbent on congress and the executive branch to work together to avoid sequestration. toward that end, i, as one member of the senate, have advocated for a balanced solution to sequestration that includes both revenues and spending cuts. i've suggested a specific proposal that would raise revenues by closing loopholes that some corporation uses to avoid taxes by shifting income outside of the united states. i've worked with colleagues and in the senate on suggested solutions. i will continue to do so and your clarion call here this morning, hope it will encourage all of to us work in any way we took avoid sequestration. you've -- yesterday you spoke at georgetown announced a series of steps the department will have to take almost immediately with respect to deployments, maintenance, contracts, other
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obligations if the congress and the president don't act soon to address the issue. we've received memoranda from other certainly depth officials laying out steps that would have the to be taken if sequestration is not avoided. can you give us a timetable? you already announced some actions that you're taking, which you're putting in place now so that even if we can avoid sequestration, and in the next few days or a week from now or two weeks from now, some things are being taken even before the end of february and before we know whether we can avoid sequestration. can you tell us, first of all, whether or not the actions would be reversible if in fact we avoid the sequestration in, say, week from now or two weeks from now, and do you echo the
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president's call for a balanced approach to avoid sequestration to include both spending cuts and additional revenues? >> mr. chairman, first of all, let me indicate -- i think general dempsey can add to this -- the reason we're having to do this and take actions now is because we're operating at a spend rate right now that envisions that we would have gotten an fy13 appropriations bill. unfortunately we have no fy13 appropriations bill. we've got a cr. we have been operating, at least in the first months, based on a spend rate that is in line with what we thought we would get for fy13. if sequester hits on march 1st
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, and then if we get a cr as opposed to an appropriations bill, then we're going to be obligated, as you know to take out almost 46 billion plus out of our budget, and that would have to take place in the remaining months of this fiscal year. if we protect the war fighters, we protect those in afghanistan, protect our critical deployments, we're looking at having to take most of that, as i said, out of readiness. so what we're trying to do is slow down that rate of spending that is going on, so it will not require as deep a dive as we're going to have to have in readiness. so what we're doing, what i've urged the chairman and service cheaps, is is to take steps to try to implement savings now. we have implemented a freeze on hiring.
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we have implemented a freeze on temporary hires. probably going to impact 46,000 jobs. we are impacting about 46,000 jobs just by doing that. we're cutting back on maintenance, on other areas in order to try to find what we can. most of this is reversible. if we don't get sequester, we're going to be able to reverse and get back on track. but obviously if we hit sequester, then -- some say sequester might just happen for a period of a few weeks, which i doubt, frankly. if it goes into effect, but the impact of sequester, then, will multiply the impact on our readiness. look, there's only one way to deal with this. i mean, i've been saying it time and time again, and i think there are members here that agree. you've got to address the larger deficit issue, and to address the larger deficit issue -- and
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my own experience. i've participated in every budget summit we have indiana past -- we have had in past years. you have to develop a balanced package. that's the nature of dealing with the size deficits you've got. and my preference, frankly, is that the congress would do the big deal, get it done, get this behind us, detrigger sequester, stop this constant uncertainty. this month-to-month situation where we don't know what the hell we're going to get. that should end. in the absence of that deal, obviously i'll support whatever package you can put together to try to detrigger sequester. whatever you can do to make sure this doesn't happen. i mean, i cannot imagine that people would stand by and deliberately hurt this country in terms of our national defense by letting this take place. >> i'll only add briefly that
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most of the things we're doing are reversible. that is our goal, they would be reversible, but even if you reverse them it will take some time -- and i can't predict that yet -- we're trying to stretch readiness -- i want to make sure you realize one other thing well tack at the decision on the care you're postponement serious because there's a human dimension for this. over getting ready to deploy you cancel your rent, cancel your apartment you sell your car you cancel education classes. there's a human aspect to this, and now we postpone it and they're still there. so, the effects are felt even now. >> okay. i guess that ends my time. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the -- is about to arrive at the picnic but i'd like to share a couple of things. first of all clarify some things to make sure we all understand
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things that are incon proveritable facts. the national military command center, after receiving initial reports of the incident from the state department, notified the office of the secretary of defense and staff, and this information quickly passed on to the two of you. is that correct? >> correct. >> general hamm, i have a great deal respect for the general and his two predecessors after we develop africom, and of course africom, with the exception of egypt, has the continent, has the control of that. they would have operational control of the dod assets in the chance it would be. in now of pri come consistently faces resourcing shortfalls. i know you don't hear this cloud clear but we do. over pared of time you can't
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continue to expand into new areas as we did in africom. we didn't have any activity there, and you know this, prior to the time we made the conscious decision, after 9/11, the original 9/11, that we have a serious problem in africa. we have to deal with that problem. and we came up with the idea of forming five african areas, and a lot of these things are going on right now. did you have any conversation, either one of you with generalham m regarding the surety situation in north africa prior to these attacks that are the subject of today? >> senator, i'm in continual touch with general hamm, who provides me regular reports from africom, as to the issues he is dealing with. there's no question that that
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area of that combatant command, has increased in terms of the threats that we're dealing with, and it's increased in terms of the issues related to going after elements of al qaeda. >> ever request additional assets there, mr. secretary? >> senator, my view was, whatever general hamm asked, we did more than try to respond. >> i know you did, and we did, too. i've talked to him about this and we know that the assets just weren't available when you look at the other places. it's not as if only one place is on fire. they're all on fire right now and this is the problem we've got. the "washington post" columnist said the president hat a briefing with the principals committee to review the threat in the mitigation of the threats, the day before, and the
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committee, it's my understanding, is made up of the secretary of defense. secretary of state, director of national intelligence. were the two of you at these meeting the day before, on september 10th? >> i believe i recall being at a meeting that kind of looked at what the potential threats were as the result of going into -- >> at that meeting -- i have chart here, no one questions the chain of event that happened on the left side, the things that happened prior to all this what consider to be warning signals that win should be able to recognizing the resource problem we have. what was the assessment of the threat in libya at the time of this principal's committee meeting? either one of you. >> if i could, senator, the meeting is a routine monthly
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review of counter terror operations -- >> happened to be teen 10th. >> right. it wasn't uniquely focused on north and western africa, although clearly north and western africa is an area of emerging threat. >> i'm sure that subject was there i can't imagine it wouldn't be with all the problems on that chart. let me -- the only thing i'd say in criticism of you, mr. secretary, is you've said so many times, and you gave such a passionate plea for it to resolve this problem. you talked about the problem is there. you can't continue to look at congress when in fact we have in the president's own budget, in the first four year he was there $5.3 trillion of deficit and it's an oversimplification and you can say that almost all of government under his budget has increased by about 10%, except
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for the military. except for defense. now, i can debate that with anyone who wants to debate, but that has to be said, because this is a problem that we have dealt with and you've talked about, but we've got to get on record this administration has not given the priorities to the mail tear, and that's my statement. you can either agree with or not agree with. we have to do something about it. about an hour and 20 minute aves the first attack on benghazi's compound, secretary panetta, you and chairman dempsey were at the white house for a prescheduled meeting on a different topic at that time. and i think that's when tom donly came in and informed you all about what happened in benghazi. it that the right time frame? >> yeah. i think we have regular meetings with the president. this is one of our weekly meetings with the president, and i should tell you that i had --
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just before i went into that meeting, got an update that there had been the attack there. so something -- i introduced to the president. >> i see. okay. let me do this. in the interest of time. i want to make two def nights hereafter. one would be the definition of -- i call it the compound, some call it the temporary mission facility. tmf. doesn't matter what you call it. comparable to an embassy but it was compound. the other attack -- one attack on at the compound. the other on the annex, an hour later, mile away. so, those two things we want to clarify. i think both of you would agree, those or two perhaps separate or could be argued are separate attacks that took place. the other definition that i'd want in terms is either these two attacks or one of the other would be classified as a spontaneous eruption of violence
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or a planned terrorist attack. ... the. >> when i later found out
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you had rpg's and mortars and attack on the second facility no question in my mind. >> they knew that at the time and unequivocally is a terrorist attack. do you agree, mr. secretary agree, mr. secretary, it was an attack on the annex? >> i said it was three days. >> that is what john brennan said also been used unequivocably. sometimes someone has to ask the question, if that was true with this presentation by susan rice, before all of america is the fact was it
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was not a preplanned or premeditated attack. i will not ask you to respond to that the people understand everybody knew that it was free planned and premeditated attack. >> senator reid. >> hq secretary, as you point* out there were two attacks one of the compound and one on the annex. but the time chart indicates there is a significant gap on the first at midnight and the appointment of mortars and rpg's did that indicate it took awhile to organize themselves to conduct a full blown attack that that with
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general dempsey they seized an opportunity then supplement the firepower coordinating attacks suggesting there was improvisation with the planning? >> the second was much more deliberate and planned and opportunistic because the people who moved from the first facility with a considerable gap. we accept the general timeline because it is consistent with the accountability review board. the gap did not cause us to do anything differently. reacted on the base of the first attack it was time and distance. >> the timing suggests some it is difficult which degree
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of planning and improvisation, is that of their judgment? >> i have not thought of that word. it was very well executed, six mortar rounds on a roof. >> no question it was deliberate, opportunistic, i believe it was pre-coordinated especially the second attacked. >> going forward secretary panetta, you already indicated you would augment security personnel with additional forces, and you also point* out was not entirely a parent that with
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internal security of classified documents, now the enhanced commission. can you suggest some aspects of this mission? >> the marine security guards fundamentally have remissions protection of classified materials, a secondary to person who occupies the embassy and a third support communications. and select locations around the world with collaboration with the marine corps and state department, but we will never be able to point* marines secured the attachment into a country located in a hostile area. the host nation has to guarantee protection or we
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should make a decision to thin out or close it. >> and other related aspect, clearly with this expanded role, it is the responsibility of the state department and resources other than marine presence. and in your view should be enhanced? >> that's correct. we are working with the state department and came up with 1,000 marines to deploy at those embassies identified as the most of the honorable. >> following up on africom africom, it is the newest sink, yet taken steps for ready reaction forces, can
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you indicate the current posture on was a general hamm has available? understanding one distances if you don't have adequate intelligence it is hard to react, what have you been doing? >> i would not drag into the internal process but annually global force management process wear combat commanders and service chiefs comment on distribution relied based on threats and security interest. africom is challenged with commitments elsewhere and the lack of authority to place facilities internally in the continent. so most are in southern europe or afloat when we have them. to augment, we have his own
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commanders for ears, and fleet anti-terrorism support teams to put them on the various changes in level of alert posture. if you think about response is alert posture and flight time with nexus -- necessary access for flow. we're better posture today for a pre-emptive request than we were. when something happens it is a far different situation. >> senator mccain. >> mr. chairman and secretary panetta i joe lane with others to thank you for your many years of service service, it has been an honor to have known you and appreciate your of leadership of the department of defense and i'm sure you will continue to contribute
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in the future. we will miss you. general dempsey, just going over your written statement and i have to limit it is one of the more bizarre statements i have seen in this committee. talk about benghazi we position forces in a way informed by inconsistent with available threat estimates than say military was appropriately responsive even though seven hours passed and to americans died. then we did what our posture in capabilities allowed. there is a base an hour and a half flight on crete and
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forgot the play and i took when i went to benghazi including all of those factors on the board there was an urgent message sent back to the state department august 15 kovach the consulate could not withstand a sustained attack from a september 11th. i will argue there was no post in all the diplomatic corps that had these warnings included also from our ambassador of lack of security including a message found in the rubble by eight a cnn reporter weeks later. for you to testify in our posture did not allow a rapid response, the posture
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was not there because we did not take into account the threats to the consulate. that is why four americans died. we could have placed forces there, could have had aircraft and other capabilities of short plays the way. so for you to testify before the committee consistent with what estimates is false. the military was appropriately respond to what was an appropriate response since no forces arrived in tel well after the murders took place for obviously your capabilities allow you to be positioned very shortly finally all of this as a result of the
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footprint. after gadaffi fell many of us made it clear they needed our help, a secure the arms cache, and secure borders, a technical assistance but the light footprint we did not provide for it was almost predictable, almost that bad things would have been in libya. here was a fledgling government, never governed before without assistance we could have provided. i beg you secretary panetta to send a hospital ship to treat the 30,000 wounded. what did we do? we sent a couple to hospitals in the united states of america. i will be glad to hear your response general dempsey as to how the available estimates, all military was appropriately responsive since four people died seven hours later with hundreds of
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airplanes, ships, and men and women serving available in that part of the world, how did you do with your posture and capabilities allowed? >> thank you. i stand by my testimony. your dispute notwithstanding. >> give me some facts to substantiate. >> we base our response combined effects from the intelligence community, the network of until agencies as well as the state department , a cheap gustation in the country. >> did you get the message they could not withstand a sustained attack on the consulate? >> i was tracking that intelligence. >> did you receive that affirmation? >> guided. >> did not by the. >> it bothered me a great
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deal. >> then why are force is not a place. >> we never received a request to do so number one. >> you never heard of ambassador stevens reported warnings? >> through general have never received a request of support to the state department that would allow us. >> it is the state department's fall? >> i am not blaming the state department. >> you do you play -- blame? who was responsible? >> a clear assessment was made it cannot withstand the sustained attack on the consulate with many other indications on the board over there with various attacks. >> i stand by the report of the accountability review board. i was also concerned at that time with yemen, yemen, is, bob, khartoum, ka bul, baghdad, we had extreme
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threats against those places as well. >> none of those rose to the level of the threat and benghazi. did they rise to that level they could not survive a sustained attack? >> yes, they did. >> basically you say our capability allowed, we do not have the capability to station forces nearby? >> we did have the capabilities. >> but we did not use those capabilities. >> based on time and distance and alert posture that would not have gotten there in time. >> it is an hour and a half flight their general, finally, i would ask again what i asked last
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march when 7,500 citizens of syria had been killed it is not 60,000, how many more have to die before you recommend military action. did you support the recommendation by secretary of state clinton and head of cia general betrayers to provide weapons to the resistance in syria? >> we did. >> you supported that. >> we did. >> they give for appearing here today i also want to add my voice to thank you for your long service and we wish you well as you return to your wall the farm and your grandchildren and california i would like to look more broadly at the challenges that we face in
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africa. wanted knowledge september 11, 2012, you were fighting a war in afghanistan, a counterterrorism issues, the training troops, patrolling skies and providing humanitarian relief. despite that you have clearly taken the deaths of the four state department employees and benghazi to heart. making sure that does not happen again. >> i know you share that point* of view. >> i know we conducted training with african military's, talk about those
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relationships or ties and specifically shinri expand training missions for other duties state department programs in africom. >> the short answer is yes. >> the threat network is desperate organizations that to embrace the al qaeda ideology the network them solace and syndicate them selves as they find common
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cause to take a vantage of then governor space, what we are seeing in the aftermath of the arab spring bettis is going to be careful to address those to work through partners it is a little challenge danger have a relationship with a bilateral military force that is itself a brand new in some countries. also working with regional security apparatus effort -- the community of the western states will have to do more
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to enable those partners to control that under current space so it does not become a century. >> we learned a lot about terrorist and al qaeda affiliated groups add only afghanistan and iraq but very effective operations and yemen general handed an outstanding job in somalia we thought it had no chance to stabilize. but as a result of the countries in the region as well as providing direct assistance to get the intelligence they needed, we
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had a very effective operation with aus a job in somalia. general hamm takes the same lessons to determine how do we best assist in the region tear intelligence, training to ensure we develop better security in those countries as well. and is doing a great job to develop the capacity spinnaker you suggesting what we have done in somalia and developing in these countries to focus on resources shortages, using smart power to see success success, the conditional success but somalia gives us hope for further utility for these approaches. >> i agree.
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>> turning to sequestration, would you lay out your thoughts general in particular if we allow sequestration does that require fundamental change? >> ups of the. as i have said the $487 billion to reduce the defense budget over 10 years, a real understood we had a responsibility to do our part but not to hollow out the force or across-the-board cuts, we developed a defense strategy we thought represented what the 21st century ought to look like and based the budget on that and recommended savings pursuant
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to that inc. in the employ 13 budget and f-14 if sequestered takes force and rehab have ritschlian dollars in the across-the-board fashion i have to put the that out the window and we would clearly impact seriously on maintenance and readiness with a terrible readiness crisis but as time went on in their version to take place and capabilities instead of being first-rate power return into second-rate that would be the result of sequester. >> talk about such purity personnel if sequestration
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went into effect how would that affect our other missions? >> not that analysis but would get the national security interest as we always do to major it is the right priority but most prominently we talk about rebalancing to the pacific also internally about the balance if it is a horizontal activity vertically how much of the force can rehab for word word, how much in the homeland and that balance would change was ability to project power forward that
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means you are less able to teach her allies. we would have significant challenges in factories to have a long-term effect. >> we are just getting a hand on personnel and i hear we go right back to the ones place one and we have asked a lot of them
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>> precoordinated attack as well as other ab geektives to describe the incident. secretary, you have been a leader in the intelligence community, of course, being at cia, so you've been on both sides of the issue providing intelligence as well as receiving intelligence. would you consider this instant to be an intelligence failure? >> i think that some of the initial assessments made, you know, they should have taken more time to assess the full situation as to what had takening place. look, in intelligence like everything else, i mean, you
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make initial assessments, go back, look at it, and look at it again, get more information, build a picture of what took place, and based on that, provide a more accurate picture of what had taken place. i think the initial assessments here were not on the money. >> general dempsey, how do you respond whether or not it was an intelligence failure. >> we get asked that a lot. this one i actually think more as an intelligence gap. there's two impressions that worked against us over time. one is we can be as responsive as necessary. that's not always the case. there are some issues of time and distance and over flight rates that effect our ability to be responsive. our second is that we are kind
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of all seeing and all knowing. there's places on the planet where we have some gaps, and i think north africa's probably one of them. >> well, to both of you, if you had had intelligence that there was a storm brewing among this group of individuals, however we characterize them with respect to an attack, at some point in time, on that facility in ben gay city, you would have -- benghazi, you would have been prepared for that, is that a fair statement? >> we have had a number of embassies where we thought there was a real threat to khartoum, had advanced intelligence, and we were prepared to move people out. as a matter of fact, the embassy moved people out, and we have done that there, done that in several other areas, with that advanced notice, we can respond.
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>> you're familiar with the time line on the chart there, and sufficive to say there were attacks on the embassy, or, excuse me, the compound beginning in march of 2012. there was a series of other attacks on western assets, both u.s., red cross, u.k.. was the president aware of that time line of all of those incidents that occurred? >> i'm not sure. >> were each of you aware of each of those incidents that had occurred? >> yes, we were. every week, general would send a report to the secretary of defense on his area the speedometer -- responsibility and copies me, and he was tracking the security situation in libya. >> would that report not go to
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the president >> >> no, not routinely. >> would you not have discussions wot -- with the president of hot spots -- >> no, we do. >> do you know of any other place in the world, general dempsey, that this number of attacks that occurred over this period of time -- >> i do, actually, senator. this was not a unique situation. looking back at it, of course, it looks like it should have been crystal clear there was an attack imminent. >> where else outside of afghanistan, outside of iraq, have we had weapons fired on a compound where we had u.k. armored vehicle attacks, where we had a bomb thrown over the compound wall, where we had a u.n. special envoy attack, where we had rpg attacks so forth and so on. where outside of afghanistan did that happen? >> yemen, notably, there's been 5 great deal of challenges in yemen. >> had that in our embassy in yemen >> >> consistent threat
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against the ambassador personally, yes. >> what response have you made in yemen? >> at the request of the embassy, we have a fleet anti-terrorism support team there to thicken the defenses, and we also got aircraft located in a nearby country that can respond in extremist. >> so that's the second time you've used the phrase state department didn't request or in this instance in yemen, the state department did request. general dempsey, i take it as a response and reaction to this instance. you are the chairman of the joint chiefs. you knew what was happening in benghazi. you failed to respond in a way that provided security to that particular united states mission complex when, apparently, you did respond in a positive way in yemen, you say; am i correct in
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that? >> well, you're incorrect saying i failed to respond to a request. look, what we do is in collaboration with our agency partners as we try to distribute resources. >> general, you said to senator mccain that you were aware of the august cable from ambassador stevens in which he said security at benghazi is not adequate. am i correct? >> i was aware -- yes, of course, i was aware of it because it came in in the general's report. the general called the embassy to see if they wanted to extend the special security team there and was told no. >> well, why was that the case? who was it that said we don't need additional security? >> i don't know where that decision was eventually made,
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but it's in the cannot review board result. >> well, my time's up, but your responses, general dempsey, are very inadequate, and in my opinion, the same inadequacy for the security you provided at that consulate. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mansion. >> thank you, mr. chairman, secretary panetta, let me thank you for your service, and general dempsey, yours also, and secretary panetta, we'll miss you. people served with you longer than i have, but i imagine the relationships you've had, if we had a few more, we would have the same. general dempsey, thank you for your service, been most kind when i'm at the pentagon and helping me understand more of how we can totally secure our country and make it a better world. west virginia's proud to house the state department diplomatic security training center, and
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the agents who fought bravely, very likely might have been trained in that part of the great state. i understand that also the national guard in west virginia were some of the first to respond. they changed the mission quickly and were ready to get resources into libya, and it shows that the strong force at the guard and the support role the guard plays, and so with that, gentlemen, i have a few questions. first of all, i was here, and i said one of the most profound moments in times of being a senator is when i heard admiral mullen at that time before he retired, and the question was asked what's the greatest threat united states of america faces? i thought, learning about the different hot spots of the world and different things going on and the challenges we had as a nation, defending ourself in the world, and i was ready for us to hear, and he said without skipping a beat, the debt of our
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nation is the greatest threat we face says -- face as a nation. i took that so seriously. i'm committed to a big fix to the bowles-simpson approach, the three-prongedded template, and we have had a hard time moving forward ton that. now, we have come down where if we don't get the fix, we'll have sequestering. we're faced and the american public is watching us, engaging in what we do, and if we do what we say and fulfill our promises, if we can't come to the financial fix the country needs, sequestering is our penalty. we don't want to penalize and hallow out the force, if you will. how can we fulfill our promise to the american people since we can't come to this -- i hope we can avoid it, but if we don't, is there language we can give you all to live with the amounts of the sequestering the amounts will bring? >> you know, senator, there is
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no fix here. i have to tell you that it would be irresponsible for the congress to allow sequester to go into place. sequester was not designed as a mechanism that was supposed to happen. it was designed to be so nuts that everybody would do everything possible to make sure it didn't happen. that's what sequester r was about. now to say, well, somehow we can't come together to figure out what savings we have to put in place in order to trigger sequester so i guess we'll let sequester happen. i think it's irresponsible. >> would you agree if you were in congress and we can't come to on agreement, i hope we can, that we can find a four or five trail dollar swing over ten years as what's been recommended, and there's going to be have to be reform and revenue, and there's got to be cuts in spending, and everyone
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has to participate. i look at the spending and over the period of time, i think, you and i have spoken about that, this is the least amount of draw down post war that we have asked for, but it seems to be doing the most damage. i think you are telling me the timing of it is hitting you harder than anything else. >> that's right. >> is that correct? if i can move on to general dempsey. general, my question is what is happening in mali right now? if you can give me oversight on that. there's a weak central government, strong al-qaeda presence, rampant armed militants, and when we look at mali, are there any lessons from benghazi that can be applied to our security posture there? >> well, to what's happening, the french have it some good success in pushing the armed groups north into the northern desert. the important point now would be to have the echo forces that
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they train flow in behind them, and then at some point, mali will need help with its govern nans challenges because at some level, these are also disputes between the touregs and northern and southern malians. there's also lessoned to be learned. in terms of learning from benghazi, i think to your point we've been in close touch with the embassy. they have thinned out the ranks a bit. that's a prudent measure. as the secretary said earlier, senator, the way you avoid these issues in the future is somewhat with hardening, somewhat with early decision making, and when the security situation appears to be moving in a negative direction, the decision to either reenforce or to thin or to close needs to be taken in a timely fashion. >> secretary panetta, after 9/11, we undertook a whole of
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government approach to make sure our intelligence systems are integrated, and i guess you tell me if something has gone wrong there, and did we miss something. i mean, i'm hearing that people have legitimate concerns, great concern, and our heart and prayers go out to the family of the four brave americans we lost, and we want to prevent that from happening, but is there something breaking down that we can repair? >> look, there are, obviously, a number of reforms on the intelligence agencies coming out of 9/11, and i can tell you from my own experience that i think there was -- we have developedded tremendous team work within the intelligence community in which we share information, we go after targets together, we develop the best analysis that we can on the threats that are confronting the country. the problem that happens here,
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and this is something that does need attention, is whether or not we have the best intelligence assets. the best intelligence resources in the areas where we need good information. i mean, you know, we've got a lot of assets around. we got a lot of resources that are there. we got intelligence, human intelligence, but if you have an area where you don't have resources there or good intelligence, it's going to create a gap as general dempsey said, and i think with with regards to those specific individuals involved in the attack, there was a gap. we didn't have the intelligence to give us a head's up that this kind of thing that was going to happen, and that is something we have to pay attention to. >> my time is up, thank you, both. >> thank you, senator mansion.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to share in what all my colleagues said about your distinguished service, secretary panetta, and how grateful we are for everything you have done for the country, deeply appreciate it. i wanted to follow up, general dempsey, and as i understand it, you received briefings from general ham that would include intelligence reporting as well as the reports from the state department, and you received those regarding the situation in libya including the information about the prior attacks within benghazi and those on the consulate; is that right? >> yes, senator, we get reports weekly from each combat and commander. >> so as well as the report on this as well, and -- but the arb said there was a clear and vivid picture of a rapidly deteriorating threat environment in eastern libya. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> okay. thank you.
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one of the things you said, secretary, you were aware that ambassador stevens of the cable said the consulate could not withstand a coordinated attack; is that right? >> correct. >> general, you said you previously were aware of that? >> yeah, i was aware of the communication back to the state department. >> and you said that the state department didn't require assistance; is that right? >> that's correct. >> did you bring that to the attention of secretary clinton? i mean, this is a pretty surprising and shocking important cable to receive from an ambassador that where our people are housed could not withstand a coordinated attack. did you speak with secretary clinton about that? >> senator, as i mentioned, we covered 281 fleets -- threats of one kind or another
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to deal with that. it's not our responsibility. >> well, i just want to add my straightforward question, i think, and, particular to both of you, particularly, to general dempsey, said you were aware of the cables. did you ever bring it to secretary clinton's attention given that it said from her ambassador that the consulate could not withstand an attack, yes or no? >> the cable was to the state department, not me. >> i understand, but you were aware of it. it's an important cable, and you said you were aware of the deteriorating security situation. >> as a result of the meetings. >> but you did not bring it to secretary clinton? >> i did not. >> did you bring it to the president's attention, either of you? >> no. >> no. >> let me -- based on the deteriorating security situation, we have a map that has the potential military bases in the area as i understand it. we have f-16s is that true?
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>> that's correct. >> were they deployed that night? >> they were not. >> why not? >> for a couple reasons. one is that the -- in order to deploy them, it requires the -- this is the middle of the night now, these are not aircraft, they are part of the commitment to nato and europe, and so as we looked at the time line, it was pretty clear that it would take up to 20 hours or so to get them there. secondly, senator, importantly, it it was the wrong tool for the job. >> i guess that's not clear to me why -- you said in the testimony that we are on heightened alert on september 11th, why it takes over 20 hours. we know flight time for an f-16 that nos 20 hours even to refeel, and given the deteriorating security situation that you've described, it really is, i don't understand why we
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didn't have armed assets in the area to respond, in time, at least, for the second attack on the annex. that's not clear to me, and i think that is insufficient as we look at what happened here, but i do have a follow-up question. secretary panetta, you said you were in a briefing with the president of the united states. i believe it was about five o'clock our time, and you had just learned about the incident on the consulate. what conversation did you have with the president? what did he ask you to do as a result of the attack, and throughout the night, what communications were you having with him, and can you tell us on a time line as to who was calling the shots there, if not him, was did another member of the white house? >> at the time, we had -- concern about demonstrations in cairo, and we had just picked up information that something was happening, that there was an apparent attack going on in
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benghazi, and i informed the president of that fact, and he, at that point, directed both myself and general dempsey to do everything we needed to do to try to protect lives there. >> did he ask how long it would take to deploy assets, including armed aviation to the area? >> no, he basically said do whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people there. >> did you have any -- so he didn't ask you what ability we had in the area and what we could do? >> no, i think, i mean, he relied on both myself as secretary and on general dempsey's capability. he knows, generally, what we deployed into the region, we presented that to him in other briefings, so he knew, generally, what was deployed out there, but as to specifics about time, ect., ect., no, he just left that up to us. >> did you have any further communications with him that
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night? >> no. >> did you have any other further communications, call you that night to say how are things going? what's going on? where's the consulate? >> no, but we were aware that as we were getting information on what was taking place there, particularly when we got information that the ambassador, his life had been lost, we were aware that that information went to the white house. >> did you communicate with anyone else at the white house that night? >> no. >> no one ease called -- else called you to say how are things going? >> no. >> okay. and since then, has the president asked you why weren't we able to, in light of the second attack that occurred search hours later, armed assets there to help those left in the annex? >> the president has made it very clear to myself and general dempsey that with regards to future threats, we have got to
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be able to deploy forces in a position where we can more rapidly respond. >> just to be clear, that night, he didn't ask you what assets we have available and how quickly they could respond and what they can do to respond? >> the biggest problem was nobody knew what was going on. >> no follow-up in the night from the white house directly? >> no, no there was not. >> thank you. >> if i could correct one thing. i wouldn't say there was no follow-up from the white house. there was no no follow-up, to my knowledge, from the president, but the staff was engaged with the national military command center and pretty constantly throughout the period, which is the way it would normally work. >> but no direct communication from him? >> not from on -- not on my part, no. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator jill brand. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, both, for being here
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today. of course, thank you for your service. we are grateful for all you do. you said in the november remarks for security, we slowed the primary cancer, but we know the cancer has ma tas sized to other parts of the body like somalia, molly, and elsewhere. how do we reorganize the strategy to stem and growing and changing al-qaeda threat? >> we are working on that with the other agencies involved. what is needed here is the comprehensive strategy overall that focuses on al-qaeda and various affiliates to make sure that they have no place to hide. we've done an effective job, done a good job in afghanistan, iraq, doing a good job in yemen and somalia.
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as these affiliates are beginning to appear elsewhere in mali, north africa, syria, we have got to develop a comprehensive strategy that allows us to be able to develop operations against them wherever they are at. we are in the process of working on that strategy. we already implemented steps to try to deal with that, but we really do need to take a big picture view of all of the elements of al-qaeda and how we can best make sure that they have no place to hide. >> i have some specific follow-up questions to submit for the record, but they may be classified, the answers, so i'll submit them separately. i want to turn to cyber. according to recent reports. the pentagon approvedded a major expansion of the u.s. cyber command growing ranks for approximately 900 to 4900 personnel cyber warriors. according to the same reports, there will be three types of
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forces. those who fortify the dod networks, those who help commanders abroad to plan and execute attacks, and those who conduct infrastructure like power grids and power flaunts. needless to say this is absolutely necessary to protect the nation against what's becoming a leading security threat; however, i'm interested in those protecting the national infrastructure. the majority of the critical infrastructure own and operated by the private sector. will the military rely on the national guard which is able to operate both, under title 10 # and 32 authorities? >> senator, your description of how you try to prepare the force is accurate. we clearly don't have authority to do all of that, but we are trying to grow the right force so that if it became necessary and we had the authority to do all of those things, we would be prepared. the national guard will be part
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of any endeavor, and i think we'll find the right balance in guard as we move ahead. >> are there any particular obstacles that you can see now in terms of using the guard with a greater deal of responsibility in cyber? >> no, not uniquely, you know, not any obstacles that we don't have as well on the active side. >> and a broader question, how do you see our plan for recruiting and retaining enough cyber personnel, particularly, ones capable of working the offensive side, and one idea that i considered thinking through is we do rotc, but imagine doing rotc specifically for cyber personnel so you're getting young men and women from mit and stanford and rti, the country's greatest engineers, rolling on to hone their skills for cyber defense and cyber attacks missions within the dod.
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>> senator, let me just say talking to keith alexander at nsa, he is -- he does not have a shortage of young people that want to be a part of that effort. they view it as an opportunity to be involved, cutting edge of technology with regards to cyber, develop tremendous skills there, and be able this then go out and use those skills in the private sector. he's got a lot of young people, a lot of young, very bright people anxious to participate in the effort. coming out of the military academies. >> uh-huh. now, turning to the subject of the hearings in benghazi specifically. i would like to talk a little bit about what you learn from the events and how to advise the next secretary of defense to prepare for similar events, and how the department should adapt to the next generation, obviously, al-qaedaing and other terrorist groups and cyber attacks, both of which pose serious threats to the security
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of our homeland. i'm specifically concerned that this is an attack in a country that the u.s. helped liberate from decades of dictatorship, that day, september 11, 2012, witnessed demonstrations in other countries part of the arab spring, countries that were supported -- that we supported through the voice of democracy, but throughout the countries, we continue to see jihad and fundamentalist movements align against us and against our interests and perhaps funded by the gulf countries. what leverage should we be using with the gulf governments to address the support for groups that threaten our security? >> i -- as i testifieded here and i certainly would give this guidance to my successor. in dealing with these threats, you have to address each area of concern. first of all, you got to develop better post country
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capabilities. that's one of the gaps right now in some of the countries that we just saw that they have not -- they have not been able to develop a sufficient post force that provides that kind of securitiment we have got to work with them. we have got to bring as much leverage as we can on the countries that they have a responsibility to be the first line of security for our embassies, and we have to help them develop the training and capabilities that are necessary to do that. secondly, we have to harden the facilities. we do have to stengthen the security around our -- some of the embassies, be able to develop, you know, add the additional marines necessary to try to help provide that security as well, and ensure that they have the right training for the security guards that are around that embassy, thirdly, we need better intelligence. we just absolutely have to have good intelligence. we, you know, whatever we do,
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wherever we are located, if we don't get that advanced intelligence that head's up that we need, there is not any way with can respond in time. we have to have better intelligence to, as so what the groups are doing, and then, lastly, we have to have a response force in the vicinity to be able to respond quickly. once we get a head's up, once we get an indication that something's going to happen. forces have to be in place and have a shorter response time in order no be able to deploy. there's no question these response times are too long, and so we're trying to shorten that, but i also just want to let you know that we are dealing with, you know, the problem of distance in that area. it takes hours to be able to respond. it's just the nature of being able to notify people, get them ready, get air lift there, make sure they move quickly and then fly to the targets. all of that has to be considered, but the more head's
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up we get, the better off we can respond. >> thank you, both, very much, again, for your service and your testimony. >> thank you very much senator. senator grahm. >> thank you, secretary panetta, you will be missed. you served the nation well. you will be missed, and general dempsey, thank you for your service. this is a hearing about benghazi, talked about sequestering, which is important, and i just want to make sure we understand what happened on september 11th regarding benghazi. your testimony, as i understand it, secretary panetta, that you talked to the president of the united states one time. >> talked to him on september 11th with regards to the fact that we were aware of this attack was taking place. >> one time? >> right. >> what time did you tell him that? >> approximately five, five o'clock. >> general dempsey, did you talk to the president of the united
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states at all in >> i was with the secretary at that same time. >> did you talk to the president? >> yes. >> you talked to him how many times? >> the same one time. >> how long did the conversation last? >> we were there in the office for probably 30 minutes. >> so you talked to him for 30 minutes, one time, and you never talked to him again? either one of you? >> until afterwards. >> until after the attack was over? >> that's right. >> thank you. were there any ac130 gun ships within a thousand miles of benghazi, libya? >> no, sir. >> were there any ac130 gun ships within 2,000 miles of benghazi, libya? >> i have to look at a map to know -- >> you said the f-16 was not a good platform to defend the
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consulate. what would have. the appropriate platform? >> the appropriate platform, senator, would have been to have boots on the ground ahead of the event. after the event is in conduct, it would be very difficult to have a military -- >> well, well, i mean, let's -- would an ac130 be a good platform to defend the consulate after the attack in >> if we had the adequate understanding of what was on the ground so we were not killing -- >> is there a saying in the military that when you go into harm's way, we got your back? >> of course, yes, sir. >> don't you think that saying is been undermind here? how can people in the military, the foreign service believe we got their back when after -- did you know how long the attack was going to last, secretary panetta? >> no idea. ..
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was anybody in motion before the attack concluded? anybody? >> only the personnel that were in trouble leave. >> were any dod assets ever deployed to help these people before the end of the attack? >> would you repeat that? >> any aircraft or individual soldier ever put in motion to help these people before the attack was over? >> if i could, as soon as we knew there was an attack, the task teams began -- >> the question is did anybody leave any base for the people under attack in libya before the attack ended? >> we didn't know how long it would last. >> back to the threat assessment
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in these be received can you go back and look and see if any of these threats have a cable from the u.s. ambassador saying if we are attacked, the consulate is attacked in a coordinated fashion, we cannot defend the consulate and by the way, there are al qaeda flags flying over the government buildings. is there any other situation of the 281 that lies on that level because i want to know about it if there is. >> the state department would have the answer to that question. >> every order that suggests in the military asset did he order a military asset in the motion and someone told him to stand on?
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>> you knew about the cable from ambassador stevens because he inform you of that. >> so when secretary clinton testified a few weeks ago that she had a clear eyed assessment of the threat that we face in libya, is that a credible statement if she doesn't know about the ambassador's cable on august 15th saying we can't defend this place? >> i don't know, she said she did. >> are used and that she didn't? >> are you surprised the president of the united states never called you and said hauer is it going. >> normally in the situations -- >> 14 noval level of threat? >> let me finish the answer. we were deploying forces, he was
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being kept -- >> i hate to interrupt you. we didn't deploy any forces. >> it was over by the time. we didn't know how long the attack would last. >> did you ever call him and say mr. president, it looks like we don't have anything to get there any time soon? >> of the event was over. we only have eight hours and my question is during that eight hour period, did the president show any curiosity about how it is going, what kind of assets do you have helping these people? did he ever make that phone call? >> there is no question in my mind the president of the united states was concerned about american life. >> are we helping these people and what is happening to them? >> the purpose of this stuff is to get that kind of information and the staff.
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stack the united states makes one phone call, do what you can and never called you back again and ask how was it going by the rationing your frustration we don't have any assets and we have to help these people for over seven hours. >> the president is well informed about what is going on. make no mistake about it. estimate that is interesting we will talk about it in the second round. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. secretary mr. leon panetta and secretary dempsey for being here this morning and secretary, thank you so much for your long and important service to the country i think as you all have pointed out that it is important for the ad men administration to be open and up front about what happened
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in an objective way to the extent that we can and what has happened here and to try to address that and that grandstanding and finger-pointing isn't really helpful. it's been acknowledged the bottom line is the agency is going to protect our people on the ground and we have to do better and the accountability review board has pointed out door leadership and management deficiencies and i appreciate secretary clinton took responsibility for that and but we are looking at recommendations to address that. thank you for your willingness to be part of that. >> one of the things that happened in the follow-up to the
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arb was an effort by the senate to address the transfer of funds the state department requested to provide the necessary resources to address the security risks and transfer the personnel to meet emission imperative is around the world. i'm glad again the senate this week has tried to do that. i certainly hope the house will take up that legislation and pass it so that we can address the resources that are required to make short this doesn't happen again and our embassies and missions are not the world both the homeland report pointed out congress and the administration shared the responsibility making sure that those resources are available.
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understanding was raised earlier. it is something i raised with the deputy secretary since before the foreign relations committee, and it does have to do with what capacity we have in the dangerous regions to provide support from the military get into trouble. they did not at the time have to of those assets in the region. but can you talk about what kind of coordination you envision the going forward to address areas where there is potential risk and northern africa and the middle east are certainly these
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days those kind of areas. what kind of communication and coordination are we doing to address this? >> well, you know, we have worked with the state department on its team to assess the different emphases to determine what are the additional steps to provide security to mcgeorge of the intelligence necessary to give us a heads up. so we are taking steps and we are going to provide almost a thousand marines as detachments to be able to target those embassies that are vulnerable and we will do all we can to strengthen the capability to provide security. we are -- i know the intelligence community is working to develop better intelligence to be able to give us the heads up and frankly we are doing the same thing. we are deploying forces to the
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area and giving them much shorter response times so if we have to deploy them they will have to get into the area in a more rapid fashion. >> is there going to be an ongoing structure to do that and a system and will be put in place so that it's not just this one review of the circumstances are but for the foreseeable future will expect to have communication and coordination between the dod and the state? >> we are trying to develop a team that can work together to make sure that we protect our lives abroad. saxby three. general, on the understand that in the year earlier testimony, you acknowledge that there are gaps in our intelligence and what we know and that better intelligence would have given us a heads up without what we might
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have needed in the region. some of the assets that are used in afghanistan be redirected to the future use to you think? >> as they have become excess capacity anywhere, we have that process i mentioned, the global force management process where we do it on an annual basis than monthly we need to redistribute as necessary. >> report suggested that africom has been under the sourced because afghanistan. is there a reprioritization that we should be doing as we are
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drawing down forces in afghanistan and looking at what we need to do, and given the challenge of the sequestration if we can't act in the congress to address that and i certainly hope we can. i think it is responsible for us to do that. but how do you expect that to occur given the budget challenges. >> i would like to suggest a little different wording. you said is it a disadvantage because of afghanistan? the answer is no. the resources we have gotten in afghanistan are there because that is where the threat to the greatest threat to the homeland presides in western pakistan and in some cases northern afghanistan. so those are direct threats to the homeland. it's afghanistan, but happens to be where the threat is. so, as the threat migrates and
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changes, we reprioritization get to your point about the sequestration, yes you will see a definite degradation if we have to absorb both the magnitude and the sequestration. >> just to be clear, i suggested that other reports have indicated that there may have been under resource so i didn't mean to make that accusation just to raise it as a question. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. senator likely. >> thank you mr. chairman and both of you for being here today and for your service and all you do for the country. i certainly appreciate and respect the fact as you acknowledged in your opening statement, it is impossible for you to be all things to all people. it's not impossible for you to be anywhere in the world within notice of only a few minutes.
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and we need to keep that in mind as we look at this unfortunate situation. we also recognize the concern you have for the u.s. personnel everywhere and we've respect when you do for them. i do want to follow a little bit on some of the questions that senator gramm was asking a few minutes ago. secretary leon panetta a few minutes ago, you indicated that we didn't have boots on the ground, we didn't deploy the force is because the attack came to an end. but as senator gramm pointed out, this is an attack that lasted nearly eight hours from start to finish. so at some point there had to have been a decision made not to deploy them. at what point in the timeframe was it me or was it not made until after the attack had been dead nearly eight hours after it began? >> senator, just to bring you ought to get the answer is there
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was this attack on the facility after benghazi. that ended and very frankly we thought that was the end of what had occurred and we had no intelligence the second attack would take place at the ex to 2 miles away. >> but we didn't know and what we did know is a lot of people were still unaccounted for. so the immediate attack was not visibly under we were not certain that there wouldn't be more fighting. >> obviously you are not certain about what may or may not happen, but the issue of whether or not you deploy a platoon or tiemann treen area. we have to determine whether or not the situation that is their requires the deployment of the force and frankly when we were told that the attack was
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overhauled. we have no intelligence to indicate that is the case. what are you referring to now? the initial attack on the compound? another pretty considerable attack? >> once the attack occurred we started moving forces. it didn't matter whether there was another attack. we were moving the force is coming as they were moving we reject them where they were needed and the fact they would be needed in tripoli but they were moving and nothing that we did slowed the process down. >> did they get to tripoli? >> why didn't they move forward?
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>> there was no need to do it by the time they got there. >> everybody was out of benghazi. >> yet it took another 23 days as we understand it to secure the compound after the attack completed, had ended so why did take 23 days to see for the compound? >> we were not requested to secure the compound. when the fbi decided to go in and provide security, we did. >> after the fbi requested that if that is correct. >> going back to the early morning hours there's fighting going on how did you know that was the end of that you had removed all of the americans from the compound and the annex.
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>> when we put a forces in motion they arrived at the location. >> at what point did you put them in motion? >> immediately, but there is a notification to lift off and then there's transit time coming and there was a significant amount of time. >> are they on alert for could they have gotten there faster? >> they could have. >> no one is ever sitting their waiting but we do dial-up and donald on the posture. >> looking back and given that there was an important anniversary of 9/11, was there a good reason to put them at a higher state of alert?
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>> i will tell you as a part of the study to the custody that is described we've changed our posture globally. it's challenging to sustain those postures. >> senator we. >> secretary leon panetta, mr. secretary, your testimony is wearing going to start with an observation and questions that brings me to the greatest concern is secretary and greatest the security risks we are facing as a nation which is budget uncertainty that confront the most significant military readiness crisis in more than a decade with iran, north korea,
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al qaeda in putting in mog rabun but our ability to respond to those security threats is completely dependent upon the national security posture that is informed by the budget decisions rather than the budget in decision. yesterday was announced that he had approved the decision to take the uss harry truman and gettysburg and delayed the deployment personnel and to the desire that they would be deployed in the middle east and the likelihood that the what happened to sacrifice the nation's readiness to was deploying a second carrier in the middle east would provide additional security including the area that we are talking about at this hearing and you decided to keep that carrier home ported in norfolk because
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of the budgetary concerns. the matters we are talking about art of when you have to make a decision that that kind, the ability of the military to respond to the crisis in some volatile parts of the world. you didn't cancel the care because this part of the world suddenly was saver. our ability to respond is at stake and as you pointed out in an earlier answer there is an effect on the individual morale who subleased departments there's an article this morning there of can toward louisiana and she had been excited to go on the first deployment this was a letdown and actually i am disappointed. she joined the navy in august and hopes to make a career and wonders whether that is realistic given the budgetary
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issues. the military today is filled with 20-year-old or a newly minted let tenants or others who will be the future leadership of the military. there is probably someone in the military right now. the general will be the future head of the chiefs of staff, but i suspect that virtually all of them are wondering whether a career in the military is realistic, is realistic given what you've seen from this body and what they have seen in terms of the budget but might inform whether they can make that a realistic choice to get >> i hope congress is taking notice of your provocative which i think is an accurate one. the decision regarding truman is going to be the first of many i suspect unless we do something to replace the sequester we know that it was never intended to happen, mr. secretary, as you mentioned. we should finished last year's appropriation process in the deficit reduction to align the sequester with a budget process
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and do a meaningful budget process and make the decisions exactly as you described you national security review incited the dod and what that drives some budgetary decisions. i feel greatly for the security posture as a result of where we are right now. i gather we are likely to see a lot of things like the truman announcement yesterday that would potentially weaken our readiness and demoralize our active duty men and women and leave us less safe unless we find an alternative to sequester >> i hope that does not become the case. senator, we can do this right.
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the united states of america is the strongest military power on earth with the strongest democracy on earth. if we have to reduce the budget as we do for under $87 billion, i can get that done pursuant to a strategy that protect the strongest military on earth. there is no reason why an arbitrary legislative mechanism not because i was good policy because it was bad policy to drive faction should now take place. i cannot imagine that the converse but simply stand by and let that happen because the consequences are just as you described. if we go into the sequester then we are going to have to take steps to implement these another 500 billion in cuts in a way
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that will make no mistake call about the force and weaken the united states of america as a military power. we don't have to do that. this is a self-inflicted wound. we do not have to do this. and that's why i think the general and i are trying to take steps to prepare for that should happen but we are trying to do it in a way that makes it reversible so that we can again get back to the business of defending this country. but if this continues and if this happens then you are correct this is the beginning of another of steps we are going to have to take. there are two carriers in the middle east and besides. because of the sequestered what does that mean to our readiness posture.
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>> i want to assure you and i think the general can speak to this. we are going to do everything we can we are going to deal with of a threat from iran to fill the gap but our hope is that we would have to carriers which would give us the flexibility to have the kind of rapid response that we would need if we had dealt with a crisis. >> and the organizational effort i assume it is thousands of hours of your personnel to figure out how to contort your budget to so did comply with the sequester them would look forward on the fy 2014 budget. >> you bet. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. senator cruce. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary i would like to begin by thanking you this morning and for your extended service. i will say, secretary, i regret you and i haven't had the opportunity to work together since signing a member of the committee but to have earned a reputation for being reminded, looking for a bipartisan compromise and looking for solutions. i will pass on a comment made by a senior republican on the committee which are characterized as a straight shooter which as you know in washington as both a rare compliment and a very high complement so i want to thank
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you for your principal the dedication to this country and for your long service and i want to thank you, general, for your service and your decades defending the nation and passionate commitment standing with the men and women of the military and protecting the interest of the united states. it is my hope that this hearing can be a hopeful moment in terms of learning productive lessons learned from the tragic attack of benghazi. what i would like to focus on principally is the window between when the attack began and 5:15 in the morning when they go down and lost their lives roughly seven and a half hours and i recognize that any military conflict one inevitably face is the proverbial but what
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i would like to ask you to do is use the 2020 hindsight we have now. if you could go back in time with the knowledge you have today and play it over again, if at 9:42 p.m. when the first attack began you knew at 5:15 the former seals would be on the roof. what specifically could have been done if we have that knowledge and i recognize that is a hypothetical but if we had that knowledge what military options would there have been to prevent that loss of life and to stop that attack at annex?
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>> to respond to a hypothetical, look as long as we are talking about hypothetical, the best that would have happened is we would have had a heads up and we would have had troops on the ground to protect that facility. that is the best scenario and that is what works the best. once an attack takes place, the biggest problem the you have is getting accurate information about exactly when is taking place in order to then develop what response you need to do it. you cannot just send them there and blow the help of a place without knowing what is taking place. you can't send them there and blow the hell out of the target without knowing what is taking place. you have to have good information about what is taking place in order to be able to
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effectively respond. >> so, in your judgment a fight understand correctly, the most effective would have been to have deutsch on the ground. if, and again this is a hypothetical at 9:42 p.m. you had received a direct order to have deutsch on the ground to defend our men and women, what is the absolute fastest that could have been carried out? >> based on our posture of the time it would have been the transit time with the closest ground force available, so you are looking at something in the best case between 15 hours to this been a different understand your testimony correctly, in your military judgment, there was no way to get troops on the ground sooner than 13 to 15 hours?
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>> that is correct. >> how about assets if you had received an order at the outset to deploy an aircraft what would have been the fastest it could have arrived? >> i don't even know exactly where they were but i know that there were no 130 is anywhere near north africa that might. >> i would like to spend a few moments on the decision making as the crisis unfolded. as the mcminn that you receive the hypothetical at any point to get the boots on the ground immediately. islamic both of you mentioned at 5 p.m. he met with president obama free regularly scheduled meeting during which you discuss the attack that had happened
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about an hour and 20 minutes earlier. the total meeting lasted roughly 30 minutes tell much of the meeting did you estimate covered benghazi? >> i would say the first 15 or 20 minutes was spent on the concern as well as cairo and what might happen with the president the rest of the day and that evening. >> we continued to talk and i think that we teed up some other issues that we were dealing with at the time to inform the president and ones that concluded we both went back to the pentagon and immediately i
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ordered a the deployment of forces into place. >> in between 9:42 p.m. in benghazi at time when the attack started and 5:15 a.m. when they lost their lives what did they have with secretary clinton? >> the same is true for you. >> i think to the astonishment of many of the viewers we at the cnn news crews discovering what appear to be sensitive documents rather than u.s. forces or law enforcement so i just want to
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make sure understood correctly you said you were not requested to secure the compound and had you been requested to secure the compound the u.s. military could have done so effectively. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator hagan. >> thank you mr. chairman. secretary this is your last time before the committee and all the other accolades and services that you have provided so i want to echo my thanks and general thank you for your continued service as we go forward look at the motion by the department of
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state for protection in benghazi, and on the night of the tuck the security consisted of three armed militia members as well as for locally hired unarmed guards and five armed diplomatic security agents de martyrs' brigade which is a local militia that participated and the antiuprising and the local militias to hand the u.s. officials and demolition members were generally expected to provide their own weapon into their own ammunition in order to protect. to what extent has the department of defense also rely on the every entrance and high threats areas and the government forces didn't control the territory such as afghanistan and how should the committee
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view of force protection? both of you if you can answer this question, please. >> during my time directly to the third country nationals who provided contracted support as well as some u.s. contractors support. we had never reached the point where in my time we were using iraq for example. i do know that it's common practice in most countries to use local bodyguards and local security forces, so it is the norm, not the exception. is that typically that is with the country that has an organized government. >> i think that is a fair characterization. >> it's something you see in the tribal societies and we see that in afghanistan with the local
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militia in some of the different areas to provide security and the key is that sometimes it works very well to secure that community depending on the quality of the militia involved to get out of control. >> how you can assist in the forces using a range of security assistance to train and equip the forces. as i chaired the threats and capabilities and subcommittee of this committee which does have jurisdiction over the authorities and i would be interested in hearing whether you think the dod has the authority to conduct the operation or whether you would need to seek new authority. >> i feel pretty good about the
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authority that we have now and the ability to go in to get you have to have the host country requested this kind of assistance and training but if they are cooperative and they want this kind of help, we have the capability and the authority to provide that to respect are the host nation forces you are hoping to engage members of the military's civilian law enforcement or local guard forces the would-be employees of the diplomatic post? >> we can work with whatever security forces that particular country wants to get trained. we could help provide the training necessary and it's up to the country what kind of security they are going to provide around in embassy. >> what are they declined to have assistance with training? >> makes me very nervous to this gimmick in that instance you
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have to do everything possible to make sure it is secure to try to provide additional security and make sure that they have the additional security to protect it in that event and make sure that we have the ability to respond quickly if we are asked to help those in the authority. >> did you feel comfortable with the training of the local militia in libya? >> not at all. having been at the cia, we did some work to try to assist the demolition, the opposition forces that were involved that time, but as usual in this instance, these are groups that
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are pretty dispersed and represent a number of different opposing elements that it's not a well coordinated opposition, and i think the was the case with the militia. >> i guess i was concerned when i read about than providing their own ammunition and weapons to the estimates of -- libya as we pointed out these countries that are going through that transitions that have taken place since the various revolutions, one of the areas that is hurting is the quality of their ability to provide security to the embassy so they're located in their country. that is a problem that we are having to confront more and more in that part of the world. >> we need to take in the social and security of the personnel first and foremost.
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a variety of organizations has been named in the media reports as responsible for the attack against our u.s. facilities in benghazi and more recently on the dp facilities and algeria some of these are familiar but such as the are not well known and operating in north africa are there any individuals for which the department of defense has designated as eligible for targeting under the authorization for the use of military force and have such a determination made? >> obviously al qaeda and its affiliates are the top of the list, and if it is al qaeda and al qaeda related, then obviously we do have the authorities to be able to go after them, but in order to do that, you have to identify who the individuals are, what is the threat they
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constitute, and the lawyers determine that and determine if that is somebody that can actually be targeted. >> and there are a handful of high value individuals or high interest to individuals who have been designated in terms of those perpetrators of the attack we continue to try to develop the intelligence. so to this point none of them have been designated although we work with other agencies to try to build the intelligence case to do so. >> my time is expired. thank you. >> thank you. senator. >> secretary leon panetta, congratulations on a very interesting and distinguished career. i am honored to have served with you in the house of representatives and to have been your colleague and i wish you the best in your future
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endeavors. having said that, you are very forceful today talking about the sequestration. i heard you on the media yesterday making a very forceful statement about how irresponsible would be not to fix this before it goes into effect. let me just suggest this. our colleagues at the other end of the bill in the house of representatives came over the bill and they had discord. they passed a rule and they voted on it and send it to us. i agree with it or not they came up with a specific answer and there has been no we answer back from the senate side. the president made a pronouncement about a few days ago. mr. psychiatry, you can't score a speech or general concept. when you see the president, tell
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him we would be happy to hear his specific views about how those revenues should come in to fix the problem because frankly people from my side of the aisle and calling for specific suggestions, specific proposals that you can score and put in the bill language the we haven't had for over year. >> please make that suggestion to him. >> general, let me ask you this. i don't see where the intelligence gap is that you mentioned in response to the question he asked if this was an intelligence failure and you said no its intelligence gap. then in fleshing out the testimony, it seems you knew everything you needed to know. the militia compound, the attack on the u.n., on the red cross,
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the red cross workers, deciding to then pull out benghazi and the same with the united kingdom , the u.k. got the message and pulled out and yet we didn't take the same message apparently we didn't make the same decisions from the attacks on the united states and the united states interest. are you suggesting that there was something else the you needed to know from the intelligence or the only thing missing was a request from the state department? you've got in yemen and you
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didn't make more arrangements for security. would you clear that? >> thanks for the opportunity, senator. what i did know is what i was told in the general's weekly reports which reflected a dtv rating situation in eastern libya. >> let me interject. did those come up through the military personnel? >> these are reports from the combat commander to the secretary of defense. >> what are the information? >> he is in constant touch with those deployed throughout the region, the defense attache is and he would be a member of the country team. >> then proceed ahead. >> i was made aware that concern had been sent. i didn't read it myself. i reflecting what i heard from the general. furthermore i don't know whether the cable on the 16th of august
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resulted in a request from the embassy tiemann tripoli to the state department. all i can tell you is the we did not get a request in the dod so i am not suggesting the big state doggett and didn't do anything with it. i don't know what. i think that the interpol we were still going. with great confidence we didn't get any request for additional security. >> did you know the red cross had been attacked and the red cross workers had been affected and subsequently suspended their operation? did you know that? >> i did to the estimate did you know the united kingdom had undergone an attack. did you know about the attack on the american interest?
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>> petraeus devotees good about determinism of the security situation in libya. >> and you didn't feel that you as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or in a position based on that to make the decision based on the extra security for those american interests? >> i would like to answer that in two different ways. this dtv rating situation was not unique. it was in the context. i know some will suggest that it was the worst thing going on. it was among the worst things going on. succumb in context the threat streams in libya were equal elsewhere with equally significant and threatening intelligence. second, it's not what we do. we do not impose resources into the country without the
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permission at the request of the host nation for the country team in the country. >> do you get military resources close by and ready to respond? or must wait for the stated request to do that also? >> we address the postures according to the intelligence where we think the threat is the highest. >> in retrospect do you wish that you had adjusted the posture? >> in retrospect looking backwards, sure. >> what would you have done? what you have put them -- >> given the kind of attack that had occurred if they were not in the immediate vicinity, they would not have been able to affect the outcome to be as we discussed previously, this has to be a combination of early decisions. >> secretary panetta, the lesson is learned. it seems the two factors that
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allowed the situation to go from bad to worse for the same ones allowed the first attacks to succeed. number one, the lack of effective intelligence sharing. i think and if americans knew what they needed to know. they knew this was a really very bad in a second, stovepiping communications between organizations are supposed to be working together on these sort of things towards the common goals. 11 years after line 11, my final question to you, do you believe we are any closer to breaking down these institutional barriers and what steps have they taken in this regard in response to the incident? >> first of all, i do believe based on my experience involved in the intelligence issues, the intelligence community is
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working much better in terms of sharing information, working together, developing the teams necessary to be able to gather intelligence, sharing of intelligence between the entire community. they are much better at doing that and much more effective. >> the problem remains it is the gap on intelligence resources that are out there that no matter how good your sharing as, if you do not have the information from the resources out there, there is going to be adapted and you are going to have the problems of the house all. we have to be able to fill the gaps and get a better human intelligence that we don't have good information, that is number one. number two, we have got to in response to this what we have done is make sure that we deploy
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those teams that are out there. we've located than in key areas and we have reduced the response time. we now have airlift associated with them and the fact is some of the teams didn't have the airlift and we would have had to deliver from other areas. we now have airlift that is associated with those teams so we have taken a number of steps to try to improve the ability to respond. >> where did you take the last step? when did you impose that? >> we did it early on. soon after what happened. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mccaskill. >> thank you mr. chairman. i was sitting here and whenever senator gramm questions but this is it's always find an old prosecutor, too and he's quite the cross-examination of expert and he does a withering cross-examination of witnesses when he is trying to make a point and i started to feel sorry for you, secretary. and then i thought for a minute about who you are and what you
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have done. one in this nation's capital. the service you have provided at the white house, the pentagon, the cia, in congress of the years of the valuable service you give in to the country and that i realized you would be just fine. you didn't need my help with senator gramm's questioning at all and i thank you for those years of service general, but to clarify that you have said today that once the attack occurred you were moving forces. >> is any measure from the state department and the audience? if you are, would you raise your hand? okay we have one hand and the state department. i say that because all i have a history that i've been involved and in doing oversight on the embassy security this goes back to 2009 when the contract in committee that i chaired did a
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hearing on the embarrassment of the harvard group and their ability to protect the embassy. after that hearing in 2009 the group was let go and then there was a figure or a 2010 hearing of this committee on the security contract and contingencies and it was a sensational hearings and i mean that in both senses of the word because there was information that cannot i would want to observe it and get busy. the report was issued in a classified nature weeks before september 28. but the public report came out on september 28th and in a report it said local taliban was working with warlords to provide guards and weapons for the use of the contract. it came out that they were failing to adequately
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investigate the previous employment which resulted in the company's hiring individuals who previously had been fired for sharing sensitive information. security information with the taliban war lords and failure to appropriately some of according to the u.s. intelligence reports may have been involved in anti-american activity. all of that information was out in a classified we several weeks before it to attend comes out of 28 and was out in public of september 28th. guess who the state department gave the contract to for guarding them on the 29th. the eodt and then the were fired for never performing because they couldn't perform accurately. they wanted to litigate. meanwhile guess who is still guarding. we had egis guarding which was another contract of kabul. we still have armored troops then we did a contract with the
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jet. they finally took over the summer. i urge you all to take a look and you do not have to come secretary, you can read an awful. but general, i hope that you look up the article that was written on gentry 17th in the foreign policy magazine about egis at the kabul industry and the problems that have already surfaced about them. now i have talked to patrick kennedy about this and his staff has come over and briefed by staff that they believe it is doing just fine. the end of this i have to tell you the umbrella contract for the high level security in the sea is a 10 billion-dollar contract over five years and i won't go into the report of the background check but it's $100 -- $100 million a year. i can't believe we can't use the marines in these situations.
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somebody has got to do cost-benefit analysis. all that i told you. can you imagine in the money that we spent fooling around with these contractors the were not getting the job done can you imagine the time we spend and the money that has been spent? i would like for you to talk about the cost benefits of putting marines on the embassy's when we are in contingencies and why this is so hard to get our arms around and how are we saving any money? >> welcome a senator, just to react to briefly to the conversation, the marines, but isn't there a role, that isn't what they do for the nation. could it be at some point potentially? the to think we would make the decision based on cost, but it would require a longer conversation. >> i guess my point is god
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forbid something would have been at kabul but if we did some of the hearing would look like child's play if you look at the history of what has gone on in terms of the force. i want to make sure they're working in the situation but when we do umbrella with the ability to tax out for pakistan, iraq, afghanistan, jerusalem and it's costing the kind of money that it's costing and we know that these embassies are going to be targets it worries the heck out of me that we are going to be another one of the situations where it is uncomfortable to talk about hindsight instead of the foresight. so, i would really like you to look at the highest level at the macrolevel because the contract and commission said we shouldn't be using private


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